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J Lipid Res. 2008 May;49(5):973-84. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M700417-JLR200. Epub 2008 Feb 12.

Liver receptor homolog 1 transcriptionally regulates human bile salt export pump expression.

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Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Center for Pharmacogenomics and Molecular Therapy, College of Pharmacy, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI, USA.


The metabolic conversion of cholesterol into bile acids in liver is initiated by the rate-limiting cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase (CYP7A1), whereas the bile salt export pump (BSEP) is responsible for the canalicular secretion of bile acids. Liver receptor homolog 1 (LRH-1) is a key transcriptional factor required for the hepatic expression of CYP7A1. We hypothesized that LRH-1 was also involved in the transcriptional regulation of BSEP. In support of our hypothesis, we found that overexpression of LRH-1 induced, whereas knockdown of LRH-1 decreased, BSEP expression. Consistent with its role in transcriptional regulation, LRH-1 dose-dependently transactivated the BSEP promoter. In addition, such transactivation by LRH-1 was required for maximal induction of BSEP expression through the bile acid/farnesoid X receptor (FXR) activation pathway. Bioinformatic and mutational analysis led to the identification of a functional liver receptor homolog 1-responsive element (LRHRE) in the BSEP promoter. Specific binding of LRH-1 to the LRHRE and recruitment of LRH-1 to the BSEP promoter were demonstrated by electrophoretic mobility shift assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation assay, respectively. In conclusion, LRH-1 transcriptionally activated the BSEP promoter and functioned as a modulator in bile acid/FXR-mediated BSEP regulation. These results suggest that LRH-1 plays a supporting role to FXR in maintaining hepatic bile acid levels by coordinately regulating CYP7A1 and BSEP for bile acid synthesis and elimination, respectively.

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